Chinese authors sue Apple over copyright

Apple iBooks

Image: Courtesy Apple Inc.

A group of 22 Chinese authors has alleged that Apple Inc. is guilty of copyright infringement. According to recent reports by the Xinhua News Agency, the group says that Apple has been illegally selling their books in the iBookstore. They have decided to sue Apple, a multi-billion dollar company and maker of popular products like the iPhone and iPad.

Collectively as the Writers Alliance, the group has alleged that Apple Inc. has been selling unlicensed copies of 95 different Chinese books in its online bookstore. The pirated books include works by a number of prominent Chinese authors, including controversial novelist, blogger and race car driver, Han Han (韩寒).

Among the other Chinese writers that teamed up to form the Writers Alliance, a group to protect their copyrights, are He Ma, author of the immensely popular series The Tibet Code, and Nanpai Sanshu, who wrote another popular Chinese series,  Secrets of a Grave Robber.

The Writers Alliance has been petitioning Apple to remove the allegedly pirated books from its store since 2011. They are now seeking ¥50 million ($8 million) in compensation from Apple. A spokeswoman from Apple, Carolyn Wu, confirmed that the company understands copyright infringement issues as holders of intellectual property rights themselves.

Earlier last year, the Writers Alliance also successfully bid mega Chinese search engine, Baidu, to stop publishing their books on its popular Baidu Library. This was on behalf of some 40 Chinese writers and resulted in the removal of roughly 3 million infringing works from the Baidu Library.

So far, it has not been confirmed where the claim was made or in which country the suit will be tried. The head of the Writers Alliance, Bei ZhiCheng, has said that the group’s lawyers have already sent off letters to Apple’s legal department, but that they are still waiting for a reply.

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl for Chicago city book club

Gold Boy, Emerald GirlChinese author Yiyun Li’s book Gold Boy Emerald Girl has been selected as the next read for Chicago’s city-wide book club. The book, which is Yiyun Li’s third release, is a collection of short stories depicting rich and haunting stories from China. The stories often juxtapose traditional values and ways of life with modern society to reveal a vastly complicated China of today not often seen in books.

Gold Boy Emerald Girl consists of nine short stories, each of which follows the lives of Chinese characters dealing with the realities of their everyday world and many of whom are haunted by a past tragedy. “Kindness”, for example – the book’s lead-off story – is about a Beijing girl who survived a year in the People’s Liberation Army and now leads a solitary life in a near-derelict apartment block. “House Fire”, meanwhile, recounts a group of middle-aged women who investigate cheating husbands.

Author Yiyun Li is a darling of the Chinese-American fiction scene. A native of Beijing, Li emigrated to the United States to do an M.A. in immunology after earning her B.S. in China. Yiyun Li’s life took a drastic change when she enrolled in the Nonfiction Writing program at the University of Iowa and began writing in English. Read the rest of this entry »